November 25th, 2010
Brampton, ON: On Thursday evening, The Sikh Activist Network organized Tears and Ashes, an event dedicated to the remembrance of the Delhi genocide. The event drew over 800 participants including youth that attended from various universities, colleges and high schools across Canada.
Highlights of the event included well-documented presentations from members of the Sikh Activist Network, a recorded statement from New Democratic Leader, Jack Layton and addresses from keynote speakers such as Member of Parliament Sukh Dhaliwal, survivor of the genocide Dr. Satpal Singh and Ellen Shifrin and Jeff Raymond of Amnesty International.
In what is being referred to as a historic moment for the Sikh community, Sukh Dhaliwal of the Liberal Party of Canada, in an emotional address publicly proclaimed his support in identifying the events of 1984 as genocide while stating the importance of holding government officials accountable.
Further, Jack Layton expressed his solidarity stating that the New Democratic Party of Canada “joins with Sikhs everywhere across the country in demanding justice and answers.” He also added that “today’s memorial is especially important for the youth, they need to know what the older generation experienced and how to be part of the healing process.” These sentiments were also echoed by Ellen Shifrin and Jeff Raymond from Amnesty International who added that the cycle of impunity by the Government of India must end.
An emotional moment from the remembrance occurred when witness and victim Dr. Satpal Singh, a Professor from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Buffalo, shared his accounts of the barbaric atrocities that occurred during the genocide. “The pen is stronger than the sword” he added, while thanking Canadian Sikh youth for setting this example.
Other mediums for portraying the Delhi Genocide were also utilized such as theatrical displays and art work from local artists.
This event marks the renewed spirit of the Sikh community in Canada and showcases the innovative ways in which, Sikh youth are empowering themselves and victims of the genocide through processes of healing and reconciliation towards a brighter, stronger, and unified future.
Supporting organizations included: Sikhs For Justice, United Front of Sikhs, Amnesty International, local Gurdwaras and other community organizations.
Photo Credits: Sikh Activist Network